SAN ANTONIO – San Antonio International Airport will get its first nonstop European flight next May.
The nonstop flight to Frankfurt, Germany, will launch on May 17, 2024, with its initial season running through Sept. 6, 2024. The seasonal flight would operate three times a week on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
“Simply said, San Antonio International Airport has arrived on the world stage,” Mayor Ron Nirenberg told the crowd at an announcement downtown Thursday afternoon.
Condor Airlines, which bills itself as “Germany’s most popular leisure airline,” will operate the flights on its Airbus A330-900neo plane, which has 30 business class seats, 64 premium economy and 216 in economy.
Tickets are already for sale on Condor’s website. A round-trip from May 17 to May 24 could cost as little as $980, according to a search of the ticketing system.
The expected flight times are 10 hours and 15 minutes from San Antonio International Airport (SAT) to Frankfurt International Airport (FRA) and 11 hours and 25 minutes from FRA to SAT.
Travelers heading to the busy German airport can make dozens of onward connections throughout Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India.
Director of Airports Jesus Saenz Jr. said there were more than 300 Europe-bound travelers a day leaving San Antonio International Airport in the summer of 2022 and roughly the same number arriving.
A “vast majority” of their passengers in 2022 and 2023 were headed to Germany, he said.
“So that’s one of the biggest reasons it was very attractive to want to move in that direction,” he said.
Saenz expects the flights will help bring back some of the travelers who may have been driving up I-35 to Austin-Bergstrom International, which has nonstop flights to Frankfurt, London, and Amsterdam.
“This is just the beginning of so much more to come at SAT,” Saenz said in a news release. “We fully believe San Antonio will utilize this service to Europe and take advantage of Condor’s extremely competitive airfares. Once that happens, we anticipate Condor will expand their services even further.”
In a media briefing ahead of Thursday’s official announcement, though, city officials bristled at questions as to why it had taken until now to secure a direct flight to Europe.
City Manager Erik Walsh said the same question could be asked about why the city hadn’t previously expanded the airport, which now has a $2.5 billion plan.
“Some of this stuff -- the relationships and the establishment of those connections from a marketing standpoint with airlines outside this country -- we should have done that a long time ago,” Walsh said. “And so we are being very diligent now. But no question there’s a lot of things we could have done better 20 years ago.”
Now that it has the flight, though, city officials are shouting the announcement from the rooftops.